Saturday, August 23, 2008

Eating Asia Part 1

Eating my way across various parts of Asia

Yes I've had the pleasure. From Spicy Frog in a hotpot restaurant in Chengdu and red hot Beef Rendang in a Mamak joint in Kualalumpur, to sizzling Pig's ears in Manila and Cabbages with Condoms in Bangkok. From Prawns in coconut sauce in my hometown Kolkata and Scallop in Orange in Shanghai to Rabbit Wonton broth in Melbourne and Erdinger beer in Singapore ...

Recent posts
Eating Asia
'Lost' whisky distilleries of Scotland
Bacon and Chocolate
Schmap Melbourne Guide

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lost distilleries of Scotland

History, geography, economics, politics and romance are all distilled together in this fascinating story of the Lost Distilleries of Scotland.

These are a bunch of small, charming , much-loved, often remote distilleries in Scotland that once all produced their own distinctive brands of single malts , but were closed down in the 1980's due to a variety of geographical, economic and political reasons and were therefore 'lost' to posterity.

But all was not lost.

Some of the old stock of these now 'silent' distilleries have been carefully preserved , and are occasionally bottled and released, much to the delight of single malt afficionados. The remarkable quality of some of the vintages, the story behind them, the rarity of the bottlings and the dwindling supply, all add to their charm and their rising prices.

The whole fascinating story is beautifully detailed and turned into a profitable business by The Whisky Exchange

Based in London, The Whisky Exchange sources these lost vintages from manufacturers and bottlers and sells them online. The user-friendly design, easy payment process and the expert guidance notes makes ordering from the site a breeze and a pleasure. It takes 3-4 days for an order to be processed and delivered to Hong Kong. No doubt delivery times in the UK and Europe would be shorter.

In the last three months I have ordered four bottles from The Whisky Exchange, two for my friends and two for my own collection. I intend adding to the collection over a period of time.

Rosebank 1991 / 16 Year old / 53.9% / 70cl

Glenglassaugh 1973 / 34 Year old / Bourbon Cask / 52% / 70cl

Port Ellen 1982 / 25 Year old / 52% / 70cl

Brora 1982 / 23 Year old / Sherry Cask#2294 / 50% / 70cl

Needless to say, I will take great care of these bottles and hopefully watch their prices rising. But will I be able to overcome the temptation of drinking them ?

All pics sourced from

Recent posts
Eating Asia
'Lost' whisky distilleries of Scotland
Bacon and Chocolate
Schmap Melbourne Guide

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bacon and Chocolate

While walking around the chocolate section in
Whole Foods, Union Square, New York City,
I spotted Mo's Bacon Chocolate Bar. Bacon
and chocolate ! Wowee yumm yumm ! But how ?

This is what it said on the back of the package:

" I began experimenting with bacon + chocolate at the tender age of 6,
while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in Aunt Jemima syrup,
as children often do. Beside my chocolate laden cake laid three strips of
sizzling bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. And then,
the magic - just a bite of the bacon was too salty and I yearned for the
sweet kiss of chocolate and syrup, so I combined the two. In retrospect ,
perhaps that was the turning point; for on that plate something magical
happened, the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that
it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it - chocolate. "

Peace, love+ chocolate

Obviuously after this I couldn't resist checking out what
seemed like a mad combination on the surface, but
somehow made tremendous sense when you really
thought about it. Or when you bit into it.
Milk chocolate ( 41% cacao) with applewood smoked bacon and alder
wood smoked salt. "The lust of sweet and salt" as the package
describes it. I brought a few bars back to Hong Kong and
enjoyed the lust for a long time.

The website also lists other fascinating combinations that I am itching to taste

Red Fire: Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies + Ceylon cinnamon + dark chocolate
Wouldn't mind a shot of Tequila with this. Or perhaps an icecold vodka. Maybe a Guinness.

Black Pearl: ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate
Not sure if I should drink a warm sake with this. Or lemongrass infused vodka.

Goji: goji berries + pink Himalayan salt + deep milk chocolate
Thinking of a dark rum or a cognac as an accompaniment.

The one that I would probably give a miss
Naga: sweet Indian curry + coconut + deep milk chocolate

And just for a full-on, no holds barred chocolate experience
Creole: New Orleans style chicory coffee + cocoa nibs + Sao Thome
bittersweet chocolate. Definitely a cognac or a peaty single malt from
Islay or a Chimay Belgian Trappiste beer to drink with this.
And an espresso.

Recent posts

Monday, August 11, 2008

Schmap Melbourne Guide

My photo of Melbourne airport got chosen to be included in the newly released fifth edition of the Schmap Melbourne Guide.

I took this shot with my Sony Cybershot DSC-T7 through the aircraft window just as the flight landed in Melbourne at dusk.

The photo on Schmap Melbourne Guide

This is a pretty cool Guide, available also on iPhone
Schmap on iPhone

Recent posts

Eating Asia
'Lost' whisky distilleries of Scotland

Bacon and Chocolate

Schmap Melbourne Guide

More such pics in " Shots from the Sky" on my Flickr

Other shots of Melbourne

My 7 course degustation meal in Taxi restaurant, Melbourne